Friday, March 30, 2012


Lunch had been planned in the city with two  friends . . . . . it was a day to enjoy and not be 'on' to create (which of course I do love), but to cast responsibilites to the wind and just be me!  The city holds so much passion for me and there isn't a day that my weekly travels to Chicago don't produce joy, vulnerability, surprises, discoveries and great dining.  Today was a day full of all . . . joy, vulnerability, surprises and a great lunch with two special people who I feel lucky to call my friends.    We met, shared English travel memories from our trip to Dorset last Fall, talked, talked and talked some more.  There wasn't a lull. . . . .laughter, tears of joy with concerns for each one taking her turn to speak and share.  Then (and I missed that memo) we were invited to dessert to share a new city dwellers home and with great joy we accepted.    Peoples homes are usually a reflection of who they are . . . . . this held so true for my soul was nurtured in her surroundings.  Come take a look!

Her colors:  grey and white.
Her elements: antique pine, linen, rattan, silver trays and
weathered iron!!
Her atmosphere:  to die for!!!

The master bedroom:  lush, cozy and simple (but so rich
with atmosphere) and calming.

Within bedroom limits sat a white, large upholstered chair and
ottoman with a neatly folded grey blanket to ward of a chilly
night of reading.

Because storage was at a minimum, a storage basket was topped
with a silver tray for the placement of a drink of preference.

This wonderful English armoire held the T. V.  My friend
pointed out that they had wheels installed on the bottom of the legs
         so the armoire could face the bed for late night T.V. or  the living room while dining.  

Love the bonnet feature of this armoire and the ironstone
against the brick vaulted ceiling!  The elements of warehouse
living so soothing to the soul!  Loved it!

The living room, an old chippy vintage trunk and a white linen
sofa!  The aged iron lamp with a linen shade could have been French.

This little woven stool (there were two!) served as extra seating
for her grandchildren (ages 5 and 11).  It was her idea to have
a little cushion created so the children would have more to sit on than just
a raw woven seat.  The fabric was a match to the sofa and armless chairs.

A birds eye view
 of the Lincoln Park Zoo

Candles on silver trays, white blankets in wire containers
all comfortably sharing a coffe table made from a chippy old
iron gate from the French countryside under a glass.

The small but attractive kitchen opened to the living room
but seemed so unoffesive in spite of its placement which shared the wonderful
elements of white, silver and glass!

The view by day . . . only to be imagined from this little
pied-a-terre, what nightfall will bring to this city
of lights.

One last look before leaving. . . . my thoughts of charm,
beauty, good taste all embodied in a little warehouse
structure that couldn't have been more perfect for
life in the city.


"At the heart of each of us, whatever our imperfections, there exists a silent pulse,
of perfect rhythm, which is absolutely individual and unique, and yet which
connects us to everything else."  ~ George Leonard

Yes, among friends, it couldn't have been a more perfect day!

Thanks girls for a great day and for the glorious gift of friendship.



Wednesday, March 28, 2012


I looked at my table this morning and just knew it was coming. . . . . .I needed flowers!  The morning was cool and back to the weather we should be having at this time.  The sun was shining through the breakfast window and my table scape was calling for flowers. . .

My table was laughing in flowers after I came home from Whole Foods. . .
(I honestly needed some food items as well)

I wanted to wait a few days until the tulips grew a little and
started to droop down the sides. . . . .but just couldn't wait to share!

The blue and white with yellow, became a layering event with
myself and began echoing Easter. . .so, out came the pink cabbage
bowls and the periwinkle napkins.

It was fun to 'table scape' without flowers, but I am afraid when
I went to bed last night and thoughts of this table without flowers
were some of my last thoughts. . . . . . hmmmmm, I knew what morning
would bring!

My table was dressed for Spring

Dinner time even brought raves from my husband.  He loves what I create for our tables. 
All I knew for sure  tonight was  that Spring had arrived at our breakfast table and all was well!  More colorful than usual, but that is ok.


Sunday, March 25, 2012


It all started with the Frederick Cooper lamp.  It was an estate sale
find and if I told you what I paid for it you will scream!!  It was $5.00, but
that price did not include the shade which was about $55.00.  OK, still a bargain
in my book.  I gathered a few of my blue and white pieces and then added
blue books, both old and new.

This is the first time I have used books at the breakfast table and I
really loved the change and the interest that books evoked in
this setting along with the blue and white.

As for this muffineer, I purchased it in England on one
of my buying trips when I had my store.  Guess what,
it never made it to the store for someone to purchase.
It originates from Scotland, it is registered and it is from
the late 1700's.  I adore it.  It is filled with powdered sugar.

I had no flowers to work with this weekend and thought I would
use the Algerian Ivy stems that I was trying to root.  I loved how
the green leaves interplayed with this vignette.

So simple, so interesting and such a nice change having a few
items that had been in cabinets, brought out into the open
and enjoyed. . . . . and my husband loved it too!


Monday, March 19, 2012


It was a sunny, Spring and yes I said Spring, kind of day.   The temperature was to reach  somewhere in the 80's.  A group of gals that had shared our garden trip to
England back in the fall, would meet and be inspired with our very
own Chicago Flower and Garden Show, followed by lunch at Riva's.

There was something for every taste and style from a
garden point of view.  This was one of the first displays and I
really loved the rustic inspiration it gave to me.  There was a
company who would make shutters, doors and columns that
appeared to be worn and quite vintage.  They were all new and just
made to look like they were worn and used.  Brilliant!!! (and extremely
well done.)

Pathways intertwined and went every which way bringing your
eyes to still another idea.

Old iron gates (or were they?) intertwined in this exhibit making you
feel really in the moment  and as if you might be abroad.

More of this 'old' look but contrasted so beautifully with the
chosen landscaping.

Then in a distance I spotted this pergola which I really took
a liking to.  We had a pergola installed at the end of the season
last year and this year I wish to have indoor/outdoor fabric applied
at each end.  In the center of our pergola is our hot tub.  This one had
an outdoor fireplace and really had created another living space for the
spring and summer months.

Loved the room-like feel of this pergola and the seating that was
created beneath the pergola.  Perfect for my hot tub area at home.

There were lots of walls created with boulders and very
colorful plantings put into the ground en masse which of course
makes for the best statement of color and texture.

This pergola was more jungle-like.  In fact, that is exactly how
I felt when I got under it.  It was cool, but just a little too rustic
for me.  All of the pergola structure had been made from logs and
the trunks of trees.

Beyond the log type pergola was a great outdoor fireplace.  Now,
this I could do!!!

Outside of the pergola was a great planted area with Boxwood
and Azaela

At a distance I spotted a structure that made me feel like I could
have been in Ireland.  Could it have been a potting shed?

Grass roof and all and the most magical entrance .  .  .

I almost felt I might find a leprecaun down these steps! (and most
certainly I had been transported to somewhere on the outskirts
of Dublin!)

As we moved onward I was attracted to this gazebo and the
contemporary statuettes of children playing leap frog.  As we
edit the spring and summer areas of our backyards, this is certainly
a true addition in every sense of the word.   It was surrounded by a
wonderful collection of hosta plants.  I am a big fan of hostas and
have added about two or three differenct species every year to my
shade garden.

Though not sure, I believe this was a Black Trumpet, which
is another shade loving plant,which had been interspersed
with the Hostas.

The Riva Restaurant had decided to open the outdoor area only two
days before.  It was hot and oh so wonderfully unbelievable to sit out-
side and enjoy a lunch of crabcakes with an Asian salad on the side.  Mid-
March in Chicago should have been cold and damp and here we were
eating outside after the Garden Show.   Amazing!

Behind us, our wonderful Lake Michigan which always freezes
in the Winter. . . . . not this year!

We all left inspired as to what we would do differently in our
gardens and certainly wondering when we would meet again!

Saturday, March 17, 2012


There is no secret that my love of France is not in some way, very often a part of what I do!
When asked at garden club if I would be lead for a table at our table scaping luncheon, I graciously accepted the offer and began thinking about what I would do.   I knew I wanted to use my old column base, my French Santons, AND le couleurs de France.  I agreed to take a larger table (round) and began my tablescape at home in my own dining room.

A column base, all chippy and worn was the beginning
of it all. . .

Provence was to be reflected rather than Paris.  .  .  rustic, rather
than formal.  .  . and the layering began.  Rattan, extra large yellow
chargers and finally antique, handpainted Gien salad plates.

I met with Sadie at the English Flower Garden Shop, my ever faithful
and creative friend and floral designer.  I didn't know what to use on
the column base and it was her idea to use the dried stems of the
lavendar she would be using to surround the base of the centerpiece.

I own two Santons and here they are proudly posing
for pictures. . . Santons are carefully constructed figures
depicting the wonderful fabled life of the past.

I knew I wanted a wreath effect at the base of the column, but
it was Sadie's idea to use the elements that she did to make it all
come to life!  It couldn't have been more perfect.

Ready to transport to the luncheon .  .  .


So reflective of Les Couleurs de France!  (blue, once believed
to keep all manner of misfortune away),  just had to be a part
of my French table. 

The land, the sun and the glistening sea echoed so perfectly a
table scape so ready and so hopefully inspirational to all.  My feeling
that a country so entrenced in its past, with colors all so nature  inspired,
how could I go wrong!

SADIE BELAM,  of The English Flower Garden Shop, is  a   master  of   creation
and I thank her for making it all so perfect.  She can be found in her shop
in Clarendon Hills (a suburb of Chicago) ready to listen to your needs and
will always respond accordingly.